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British astrophysicist Burnell donates $3m prize to female scientists

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Jocelyn Bell Burnell: gives up $3m prize to help female scientists, other minorities

Jocelyn Bell Burnell: gives up $3m prize to help female scientists, other minorities

One of Britain’s leading astrophysicists, Jocelyn Bell Burnell said she will donate her $3 million prize to encourage more people, especially women, to break into the field.

Burnell, now 75, discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967 as a graduate at Cambridge University. The discovery earned a Nobel Prize in 1974, but the honour went to her two male colleagues.

Burnell said she was not eligible for the Nobel at the time because students could not receive awards.

After more than 40 years, Burnell’s contribution has finally been recognized. On Thursday, she received a Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for the discovery, and nearly 3 million dollars in award money.

The laureate said she would donate all the money to help scientists from under-represented groups, namely female and ethnic minority physicists.

“I have this hunch that minority folk bring a fresh angle on things and that is often a very productive thing. In general a lot of breakthroughs come from left field,” she told BBC News on Thursday.

The discovery of pulsars is “one of the biggest surprises in the history of astronomy,” the Breakthrough Prize committee said in a statement Thursday.
“Among many later consequences, it led to several powerful tests of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and to a new understanding of the origin of the heavy elements in the universe,” it said.

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Education

Kaduna Polytechnic joins ASUP strike

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The Kaduna Polytechnic Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), has complied with the indefinite strike declared by the national body on Wednesday.

ASUP Chairman in the polytechnic, Dr. Aliyu Ibrahim told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that the chapter totally complied with the directive of the national body.

“We will remain on strike until directed otherwise by our national executives,” Ibrahim said.

NAN reports that the polytechnic was on break and was expected to resume academic activities in January.

Michael John, a student of the polytechnic, who spoke to NAN on the development appealed to the federal government to dialogue with union and resolve all disagreements.

“We do not want to stay at home like our fellow students in the universities who have been at home for months following ASUU strike.

“Federal Government should please find a way to resolve the issues, so we will resume school in January and continue our studies,” John said.

Kola Adeyemi, who applied for admission in the school also called on both parties to go to the negotiation table and iron things out.

“I have stayed at home for quite too long and hoping to secure admission in Kaduna Polytechnic.

“The strike, if prolonged will affect my chance of securing admission this session,” he said.

Mr Usman Dutse, the National President of the union, had on Tuesday directed all members of the union to embark on the nation-wide indefinite strike on Wednesday.

Dutse said that the strike became necessary following the failure of the Federal Government to implement the 2009 and 2017 agreements reached with the union.

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Education

ASUP strike begins Wednesday

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The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) is expected to begin its indefinite nationwide strike today, Wednesday.

Usman Dutse, ASUP’s national president, on Tuesday, said the strike became necessary following the failure of the federal government to implement the 2009 and 2017 agreements reached with the union.

“We are commencing our strike tomorrow (today) as scheduled. Everything is set and there is no going back.

“There is an invitation for a meeting on December 17, but we will still commence our strike on Wednesday.

“I don’t know what will happen at the meeting or what they have decided, but until we meet with them, we cannot predict. I don’t know what they plan to present until we meet with them,” Dutse told NAN.

Dutse said the strike would be comprehensive and total, until all issues raised were adequately addressed by the government.

He listed the 10-point demands of the union to include: non-implementation of NEED ASSESSMENT reports of 2014, as agreed with the minister at the meeting of October 2017.

“They are lack of seriousness in the renegotiation in the union’s 2010 agreement; non-release of arrears of CONTISS 15 migration for the lower cadre; non-release of arrears of promotions and shortfalls in personnel releases as well as non-payment of allowances.

“Other agitations are non-payment of salaries in many state-owned polytechnics, non-payment of union check off dues, pension deductions and other statutory deductions from staff salaries to the appropriate bodies, continue victimisation of union officers,” Dutse added.

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Education

Association canvasses support for education sector

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The Abuja-branch of Immaculate Heart Girls Secondary School, (IMMAHACO) Aba, Old Girls Association, has canvassed support for government and other managers of the education sector for urgent improvement in its standards in the country.

The acting President, Mrs Stella Akawari made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, on the sideline of the association’s 2018 end of the year party,

Akawari stressed the need for all well-to-do Nigerians and organsations to support the sector.

“The government is always there doing their part but we have to do ours; the Catholic Church is doing well too but we have to add to their efforts.

“Let all old boys and girls of all the schools in the country get up to rebuild infrastructure for the sake of the next generation,” she said.

Comparing the equality of today’s education to what was obtainable in the 80s, Akawari said there was need to improve the system for the benefit of future generations.

Akawari, who graduated in 1985, urged the young generations to be focused and remain committed to hard work for a bright future.

The acting president said that IMMAHACO will in June 2019, hold it’s general convention in Abuja where old girls would deliberate on projects to be implemented in the school.

According to her, the idea is geared towards enhancing infrastructure facilities in the school.

“It is all about giving back to our school, if not for the Immaculate Heart school; our exposure, our direction in life, where we are today is all about the school.

“Now that we are grown and can afford it, we need to give back to the school to supports our sister coming behind.

“This will help have help give them a direction in life; some of us today are senators, House of Rep members, medical doctors, principals lawyers and successful business owners.

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